Bernie Madoff: One of America’s Most Notorious Fraudsters
Sometimes it’s hard to understand how scam artist extraordinaire Bernie Madoff got away with losing so much investor money for so many years. Surely his elaborate Ponzi scheme required a degree of genius, but it’s hard to give Madoff any credit for designing and carrying out his evil plans. It’s quite a story, really. One day you’re enjoying the life of a financial kingpin, and the next day you’re being sent to prison for 150 years. It’s a sad story, but it’s kind of good to know that crime really doesn’t pay.
Bernard Madoff was a very successful stockbroker in the world of high finance. His family business and fame seemed to know no bounds. Madoff Securities, including the now famous hedge fund that enabled Madoff to hide his illegal financial transactions, earned a reputation for returning high yields to delighted investors. Madoff’s firm was a leader in the development and use of financial investment software, and he also served as president of the board of directors for NASDAQ, or the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations.
Madoff was arrested in 2008 after his sons turned him in for operating a massive Ponzi scheme. Madoff was charged with securities fraud and is currently serving time in prison for losing more than 50 billion dollars of investor money. Madoff was also found guilty of mail fraud, investment advisor fraud, money laundering, wire fraud, making false statements and a host of other serious crimes. The 70 year old Madoff was ultimately sent to prison for a whopping 150 years. Talk about a return on investment! It turned out to be a costly crime for both the Madoff family and the investors that placed their faith in Madoff Securities.
Even though Madoff is in prison, probably for the rest of his life, the Madoff case just keeps on giving. The financial plot was so massive and lasted for so many years that investigators are still uncovering the full extent of Madoff’s fraudulent practices.
Nearly 170 billion dollars of investor funds were routed through a network of holding companies and financial accounts over the years. Countless investors and investment firms are likely to feel the impact of Madoff’s financial improprieties for many years to come. The hedge fund industry, which has a reputation for being less than transparent, may also have suffered a mortal blow.
Madoff’s investment firm was known for delivering double digit financial gains. According to industry experts, the returns that Madoff promised to deliver to his clients were unrealistic. Nevertheless, Madoff was able to deceive investors by using new investment capital to deliver profits to older investors. Unfortunately, the financial statements that investors received never revealed that their capital investment had actually been lost forever.